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The outbreak of the Hand, Foot and Mouth rash in schools may be more widespread than originally reported.
The South East Regional Authority (SERHA) on Monday disclosed that it is closely monitoring cases that have been found in at least three schools in Kingston and St. Andrew and six schools in St. Catherine.
SERHA says the Health Departments in the respective parishes have been working closely with the schools to minimise the spread. It says guidelines for the management of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease have been issued and Public Health Inspectors have been deployed to assess the situation.
According to SERHA, Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is a viral illness common in infants and children. The symptoms of the disease are fever and blister-like eruptions on the tongue, inside the cheek and on the skin .
Poor appetite and a sore throat are other symptoms.
SERHA says it can be spread through direct contact with mucus in the throat and nose, saliva, fluid from blisters and the stool of infected persons.The health authorities say there is no vaccine to protect against the viruses that cause Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease.
The Ministry of Education in a bulletin issued on Monday did not name the affected institutions. According to the Education officials, students suspected of having the disease should be immediately separated from the general school population and sent home. It says fthe requent disinfection of schools is crucial in order to prevent the spread of the disease.
The Education Ministry says the Parish Health Department should be notified if there is any increase in the number of cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease at the institution.